2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Wide range of engines, comfortable for five, high-quality interior materials and construction, many updated entertainment and communications features.
  • Regular V6 is short on low-end torque, no third-row seat option, expensive for its segment.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a capable, versatile SUV that offers the typical Mercedes attributes of high quality, prestige and safety.

Vehicle overview

Mercedes introduced its first luxury SUV, the ML, nearly a decade ago. Now in its second generation, the model now known as the M-Class has evolved from a truck-based body-on-frame SUV to a carlike, easy-to-handle utility vehicle. After various suspension revisions, safety improvements and equipment upgrades over the years, the M-Class emerges freshly updated for 2009 at a time when gas-guzzling midsize and large SUVs teeter on the brink of extinction.

On the inside, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class gets a revised, easier-to-use version of Mercedes' COMAND interface, which includes Bluetooth phone connectivity, an auxiliary jack and an in-dash six-CD/DVD changer. An optional, upgraded version of the COMAND system adds a plethora of the latest technology features, such as a voice-activated hard-drive-based navigation system with 4GB of music storage, satellite radio, HD radio, Zagat restaurant reviews and an iPod connector.

Those concerned with fuel economy may take interest in the new ML320 Bluetec. Replacing last year's ML320 CDI, the Bluetec has a 3.0-liter V6 that, thanks to a special additive, burns diesel more cleanly than previous diesel engines. The Bluetec is 50-state legal (the CDI wasn't) and its fuel economy is 17 percent better than the EPA ratings for the regular ML350. The Bluetec model has less oomph for highway passing and costs $1,500 more, but it's certainly an interesting alternative to the regular ML350.

Overall, the 2009 M-Class retains the characteristics consumers associate with Mercedes-Benz: quality, luxury, prestige and state-of-the-art safety. Naturally, there are other choices in the $50,000 luxury midsize SUV segment. Nearly every competitor has been updated (or introduced) in the past year or two, including the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and BMW X5, along with the Lexus RX 350, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg 2. And unlike some others in the segment, the M-Class doesn't offer a third-row seat. Adding a bunch of options can raise the ML's price to uncomfortable levels as well. Still, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class should prove a fine choice for those looking for the latest gadgets and comfortable seating for five in a midsize luxury SUV.

2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class models

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a five-passenger luxury crossover SUV available in four trim levels: ML320 Bluetec, ML350, ML550 and ML63 AMG. The ML320 Bluetec and ML350 are similarly equipped, with 19-inch wheels (although the design varies between the two models), a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, cruise control, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, the COMAND interface, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker audio system with a six-CD/DVD changer and an auxiliary jack.

The ML550 adds AMG-style bumpers and 19-inch wheels, along with brushed aluminum running boards and roof rails. The ML63 AMG features special interior and exterior styling details, as well as a sport-tuned air suspension, 20-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, bi-xenon adaptive headlights, corner-illuminating foglights, leather upholstery, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, and ultra-supportive heated and ventilated front sport seats.

Options for the ML320, ML350 and ML550 include the Premium 1 Package, which adds a power liftgate, a rearview camera, a 115-volt AC power outlet and an upgraded version of the COMAND system with a hard-drive-based navigation system that has voice activation, real-time traffic updates and 4GB of music storage. This package also comes with a premium Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound audio system and satellite radio, HD radio and an iPod connector. The Premium 2 Package features everything found in the Premium 1 Package plus a park assist system, power-folding side mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, front-seat memory settings and keyless ignition/entry. Leather seating and a Heating Package (heated front and rear seats, as well as a heated steering wheel) are available for all trim levels except the M63 AMG.

Stand-alone options include an air suspension with adaptive damping, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, rear climate controls and a rear-seat entertainment system. The ML63 AMG can also get 21-inch wheels and heated rear seats.

2009 Highlights

For 2009, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class gets a face-lift that includes a new front and rear bumper design, a new grille and redesigned headlights. Inside, updates include redesigned climate control buttons, a new optional rear-seat entertainment system and the latest version of Mercedes' COMAND system, which includes Bluetooth phone connectivity.In addition, last year's diesel-powered ML320 CDI model has been replaced by the ML320 Bluetec (which boasts a cleaner-burning fuel technology). For those who don't need all-wheel drive, wouldn't mind saving a few thousand dollars at purchase time and appreciate its slightly better fuel mileage, Mercedes now offers a rear-wheel-drive ML350.

Performance & mpg

The 2009 M-Class comes with a choice of four engines, and all come standard with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Apart from the ML350 rear-wheel-drive model, every M-Class trim level has all-wheel drive. The ML320 Bluetec has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 rated at 210 horsepower and a stout 398 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy ratings for this model are 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The ML350 has a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and gets an estimated 15 city/20 highway and 17 mpg combined. The rear-wheel-drive ML350 gets 1 mpg better across the board.

For more exhilarating performance, the ML550 boasts a 5.5-liter V8 that pumps out 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. But it's no surprise that power comes at the expense of fuel economy. It's rated at 13/18/15 mpg. The top power plant in the M-Class lineup, the ML63 AMG's 6.3-liter V8, makes an awe-inspiring 503 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque -- enough to propel this SUV from zero to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. It's rated at 11/15/12 mpg.


Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, hill descent/ascent control and a full complement of airbags (front-seat side and full-length side curtain) are all standard. In government crash tests, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class posted perfect five-star scores in both frontal- and side-impact testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the SUV a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in frontal-offset crashes.


Steering is precise on the 2009 Mercedes M-Class, but it doesn't offer much feedback and feels a little dead in the center. There is some body roll around corners, which is to be somewhat expected from a near 5,000-pound AWD SUV, but the M-Class stays predictable and stable on the road. Braking is quite good; a sure-footed pedal and quick response make for confident stopping power.


A warm, upscale character is conveyed throughout the cockpit of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, thanks to a combination of wood and aluminum trims. Passenger room is impressive; rear seating offers more than 39 inches of legroom, nearly 6 inches more than the Lexus RX 350 provides. With the rear seats in place, there is a total of 29 cubic feet of luggage space. When the seats are folded flat, that expands to 72 cubes, an average figure for this class of vehicle. A variety of cubbies throughout the cabin, as well as large front cupholders, prove useful on road trips.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

3 out of 5 stars
Worst reliability of any vehicle I have ever owned
Manfred Schropp,09/14/2015
ML320 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
The engineers who designed the vehicle did a good job. It is spacious, comfortable, quiet, has a fantastic range on long distance drives - up to 700 miles on one tank 95 liters / 26.5 US gallons. I still love driving it after almost 7 years. You can drive 800 miles in one stretch and exit the car still feeling fresh. The strong torque of the Diesel engine with up to more than 30 mpg, the transmission working seamlessly in the background, the comfortable ride, the quietness of the cabin, the excellent seats make this a wonderful vehicle. BUT THE RELIABILITY IS TERRIBLE! This is hands down the worst vehicle I have ever owned in terms of frequency and cost of repair (see below), and these cars include 2 Jeep Cherokees when they were still made by AMC. While my local dealer is very very good, Mercedes Benz of USA and the folks in Stuttgart were of no help whatsoever. Verbatim from a MBofUSA representative: "Sorry, there is nothing we can do for you. We suggest you negotiate a real good deal with your local dealer when you buy your next Mercedes." Repairs & Parts replaced on my 2009 Mercedes ML-320 Bluetec in 6 years & 10 months and 73,696 miles light duty use. 01. Factory recall: Tail lamps, rear lights, power lift gate module replaced 9cost not known) at 5,176 miles 02. Warranty work: Noise from front end; replace right front wheel bearing at 27,670 miles 03. Warranty work: Replace left strut assembly front and replace buttons on steering wheel at 32,477 miles 04. Warranty work: Removed and lubricated shift paddles on steering wheel to fix squeaky noise at 32,620 miles 05. Warranty work: Replaced defective NOX sensor at 35,866 miles 06. Warranty work: Left rear door lock assembly replaced at 42,541 miles 07. Repair NOT covered by warranty: replaced auxilliary heater in AdBlue tank diagnosed at 49,671 although it is part of the emissions control system but NOT covered by MB emissions control warranty (read the small print); paid out of some slush fund after my vociferous complaints to MBofUSA; cost estimate almost $2,200.-; fixed problem at 50,843 miles 08. Repair: Front passenger door lock assembly (same broken part as above, different door) $833.99 after 15% dealer courtesy discount at 53,277 miles; MBofUSA refuses any consideration. 09. Repair: Noise from engine department - loose NOX sensor - tightened - no charge at 56,633 miles 10. Repair: Replace 2nd NOX sensor and EGR temperature sensor and air cleaner turbo seal at 60,028 miles; this NOX sensor lasted 24,162 miles; cost of repair $1,350.92 11. Repair Turbocharger intake shut-off motor, seals, gaskets, pipes (almost left me stranded) at 66,241 miles; cost $1,675.89 12. Repair: Bad Glow Plug Control Module at 68,9921 miles; cost $503.64 13. Repair: Oil leak in front engine area. Turbo Pipe Gree O-Ring Seal and seal on oil breather assembly black o-ring seal; oil squirted on V-belt; replaced free of charge by dealer as it was possibly related to repair #11 not performed 100%; dealer otherwise very good and VERY HONEST. Same mileage as Repair #12 done at same time. 14. Replace 3 engine mounts / support struts. They were leaking fluids; at 73,696 miles; $1,774.38 15. Replace temperature sensor upstream of turbo at 73,696 miles (as in #14); cost 737.98 Estimated cost of warranty repairs $5,000+; repairs paid by owner $6,876.80 (does NOT include windshield replacement caused by stone from passing truck or self inflicted body damage); additional regular maintenance cost incl. tire replacement $8,391.98 (does NOT include registration, SMOG check, insurance, fuel); total estimated cost for all repairs, incl. warranty work, and regular maintenance ~ $20,268.78; Days in service 2491; average number of days between repairs (does not include regular maintenance trips) 166; average number of miles between repairs 4,913. UPDATE 1: The car now has 80,750 miles on it and nothing has broken since my original review. That is about 7,000 miles without something breaking, although I did have a brief scare at about 76,000 miles when the car lost power on a long uphill portion on the freeway and slowed down to about 35 mph. I managed to pull off the road [slow trucks were using the emergency lane], turned off the car, and after about 5 minutes restarted it. It has been running fine ever since. A visit to the dealer did not show any recorded error code. About 30 miles earlier I had added fuel when the tank was still half full. Maybe the fuel was dirty and caused a momentary clogging. I still love the design and how it drives very much, it is just the reliability that I hate. But I may have gotten a particularly bad one-off example. UPDATE 2: At 80,915 m replaced defective 2 front air suspension struts & air compressor & 4 new tires as a result, new turbo inlet pipe seals, new transfer case input shaft seal, incl. C-Service $7,303. 15 unscheduled stops so far not counting light bulbs. Repl. backup camera (warranty), est. $2,400 incl. module.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Rover and Beemer killer
ML350 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
Have owned the Discovery and LR3 and was ready for a change. Drove the Ranger Rover Sport, X5 and ML350. Simply no comparison. The Benz is by far the best combination of luxury, performance, safety and styling for the money. We are completely blown away by the driving characteristics and features of this vehicle. It is light years ahead of its predecesor, the ML320, which was a stubby, truck-based abomination. This thing is an E-class with some ride height and storage space. If you're considering an SUV in this price range, you must drive this car. My only complaints are the position of the cruise control stalk and the learning curve on all the features. Gas mileage is as bad as the Rover.
3 out of 5 stars
Beware of the Repair Virus
ML320 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
If you are interested in a beautiful looking SUV that is comfortable and will cost you more money in repairs than you have ever experienced before; then this is the vehicle for you! Here are the items you need to make sure have been replaced before you purchase one/ if they have not been replaced; plan on saving up because those dark day(s) will come. Oil cooler seals: $2500+ NOX sensor replaced if you do it yourself (1) $450 if the dealer does it over $800; note** there are two NOX sensors Shocks and struts: $2300 Air Mass Flow Sensor: $750 Regular 10k maintenance avg: $350 (always ask what is being performed) Fuel Filter: $240 Seat Belt: $750- Manufacturer defect that mercedes will not own up to. Brakes: Mercedes does not believe in rotating rotors; they replace them with the pads. What does this mean; more $$ There are probably more to come; i may find out or i may wave the white flag and try to get rid of it. I will put it to you the best way i can; i have owned a variety of diesels for over a decade including foreign diesel powered vehicles. Pass on this one; this has been a money pit compared to the 10 diesels i have owned. I have only owned this vehicle for 2 years and look how much i have spent; this is a fun vehicle to drive and has every bell and whistle; but you will pay to have the luxurious Mercedes-Benz named vehicle.
4 out of 5 stars
Great SUV
ML350 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
Overall this is an excellent SUV. It's got peppy acceleration, good brakes, great looks, and is very comfortable. The interior is super nice. I love the iPhone integration, backup camera, and peace of mind knowing I have airbags everywhere. This SUV has FANTASTIC traction. It can be raining and I can pull out on an uphill incline and floor it- this thing just grabs and go's! This gives me peace of mind when my wife drives it versus our car when the weather is bad. With all that being said- it's a Mercedes. Premium fuel, expensive synthetic oil changes, and all that good stuff. Its not too bad because honestly all cars are expensive if you go to a dealer. Find a good Indy mechanic good with euro cars and you'll be fine! I had a Timing chain replaced at 80,000 miles- was told it may have needed this because perhaps the previous owner may not have changed there oil like he should have.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
More About This Model

So what's the big deal about the 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320 Bluetec? Simple: Its clean-burning 3.0-liter V6 (shared with the GL320 and R320) is the first diesel-fueled engine (other than Dodge's heavy-duty truck diesels) to pass the stringent 2010 EPA emissions requirements for 50-state certification. While diesels are a fixture in European-market vehicles, the U.S. government has long been leery of the high particulate emissions endemic to these engines. Thanks to Bluetec, stateside Mercedes buyers can enjoy all the benefits of diesel, including superior fuel economy and a reputation for durability, with the full blessing of Uncle Sam.

Sounds like a win-win proposition, right? And it would be, if this Benz boasted the expected instantaneous turbodiesel torque off the line. However, there's an exasperating delay when you floor the throttle from a stop or forward creep, as though the transmission has been caught off-guard. Forget Mercedes' claim on its Web site of "V8 power in a V6 configuration." Thanks in part to this conservative shift logic, the ML320 Bluetec would have its hands full keeping up with an ML350 and its gasoline-powered V6.

Fortunately, the Bluetec does deliver considerably more miles per gallon when it's time to refuel, though diesel continues to outpace gasoline in the price column as of this writing. Whether you'll enjoy yourself between fill-ups is another matter. Granted, the sumptuous interior appointments are beyond reproach — our test car's upper-crust cabin made the $61,200 asking price seem downright reasonable. But given its gooey steering and ho-hum performance, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320 is probably best experienced from somewhere other than the driver seat.

Nonetheless, this Benz's combination of top-shelf luxury, superior fuel-efficiency and environmental friendliness is bound to win over a good number of deep-pocketed SUV shoppers. In this era of volatile fuel prices and an uncertain automotive future, clean diesels hold considerable appeal as a green alternative to the status quo.

Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview

The Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is offered in the following submodels: M-Class SUV, M-Class ML63 AMG, M-Class Diesel. Available styles include ML350 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A), ML350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 7A), ML550 4dr SUV AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A), ML320 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A), and ML63 AMG 4dr SUV AWD (6.2L 8cyl 7A). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz M-Class models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine or a 5.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 382 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class comes with a unlimited yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a unlimited yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 is priced between $9,799 and$9,799 with odometer readings between 118000 and118000 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4MATIC is priced between $13,990 and$13,990 with odometer readings between 96733 and96733 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2009 M-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,799 and mileage as low as 96733 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Can't find a used 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale - 11 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $17,348.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 9 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,409.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale - 3 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $8,865.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 4 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $19,485.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz M-Class lease specials